A bipartisan plan put forth by a group of twenty-two senators has drawn the ire of the White House and other agencies in the Trump administration, and failed in a vote in the Senate. “The changes proposed by Senators Schumer-Rounds-Collins would effectively make the United States a Sanctuary Nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
The bill would grant a 10-12-year pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to this country illegally but at a very young age. It also includes $25 billion for border security, including the building of a wall along the southern border. Both were White House demands.
The bill also looked to gain conservative support by preventing for those illegal immigrants from sponsoring their parents for citizenship. Those individuals would however, be able to gain citizenship in other ways.
The problem with the bill, according to the Trump administration is that it would only spends the money for the wall after ten years. It also has a provision that would limit DHS to only removing illegal immigrants who have committed crimes or are national security threats who arrived in this country after January of this year.
It also would not address loopholes that prevent deportation and removal of illegal immigrants, the administration says, exacerbating the already troublesome “catch and release” problem.
When it comes to DACA, DHS claims that it would grant citizenship to closer to 3 million illegal immigrants, not the 1.8 million it claims to, and would waive many of the eligibility requirements. The result is the pool of immigrants would be expanded to include individuals who came to the U.S. recently who are “decidedly not children,” the agency said.
The administration also criticized the bill’s lack of addressing of chain migration. It says that by leaving that system unchanged the actual number of legalized individuals could reach as many as 10 million. The bill also does nothing to address the visa lottery issue, another of President Trump’s demands. The President on Twitter called the bill a “total catastrophe.”
A vote on the bill in the Senate failed 54-45.
The fate of the DACA program is now unclear as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made plain that debate on an immigration bill in the Senate would end this week. The DACA program officially ends March 5, although pending lawsuits could prevent the program from ending on that date.